Game Resources

These are recommended starting points for learning more about board games, and exploring gaming as a hobby.  Lists here are just a small sampling of high quality resources for gamers. (a.k.a. BGG) is the IMDB of board games, with massive user-contributed content for over 73,000 games and expansions as of October 2014.  In addition to basic facts about publisher, publication date, number of player, time to play, etc., one can browse images, find sellers, read reviews, discuss strategy, download player aids, find relevant websites, and much more.

A good place to start looking for "gateway" games, i.e. games that are best for introducing oneself or others to modern boardgames, is to browse the Family category of by selecting the "Family" filter under "Board Game subdomain" of the advanced search page.



There are so many new games each year, it can be overwhelming to try to get a sense of the cream of the crop.  It's helpful to peruse a number of annual awards to see which games stand out on multiple lists.  Which awards you pay attention to will depend on your own tastes, but these are ones I tend to watch:


I recommend these as the foundation books for a game library:

A good way to get good deals on used books, etc. at Amazon is to use to get an idea of the typical price range (e.g. The New Games Treasury) and to set up a free watch and notification for when an item price drops to or below your desired limit.

Starting Out

I often wonder what would be best first game purchases that would provide the most board and card gaming value for the money.  These are my current recommendations.  In most cases, these recommendations reflect a balance of price and quality considerations, and one can generally find lower prices (with lesser quality) or higher quality (with higher prices).  The best beginner game kits would be constructed by buying good quality components in bulk and dividing them among a group of gamers.  This would be fun to do someday... "Professor Todd's Bag of Games" anyone?

Bare-bones basic budget bargain bundle - Assuming access to game rules and information online, and basic items likely found at home (e.g. pencils, paper, plastic cups), here is a sample set of budget game supplies (as of 10/24/2014):

So the base cost for equipment to play many hundreds of excellent games is about $30.  Obviously, shipping costs increase the price, so bulk purchases split among gamers has a significant impact on total cost.

Deeper Interests

The Study of Games

Game Theory, Game AI (Artificial Intelligence), and Recreational Mathematics are academic subfields that focus on reasoning about games and puzzles.  Even without an advanced degree, there are areas of Recreational Mathematics that have attracted the interest and creative activity of non-mathematicians.  The late Martin Gardner brought Recreational Mathematics to a broader audience through his Mathematical Recreations column in Scientific American.  Thus, as a starting point for mathematical enjoyment of games, I recommend Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games, a CD-ROM collection of his Recreational Mathematics books in PDF form. is Ed Pegg Jr.'s excellent website for following recent developments in Recreational Mathematics.

Game Design

Last updated October 2014

Todd Neller